Funny, I have heard about proprioception before but never paid much attention to it. But I was reminded of it watching the Sean Foley video in our video spot in our right hand column. (Note: the video I mentioned has been moved from this column but you can now check it out here: Sean Foley Proprioception Drill)
He mentions a balance drill and referenced the importance of proprioception and how it’s harder than you think. You’ll have to watch the vid to see the exact drill 🙂
What exactly is proprioception and what the heck does that have to do with golf? Well, proprioception is all about balance. Here is the Wikipedia definition below:
Proprioception – from Latin proprius,meaning “one’s own” and perception, is the sense of the relative position of neighbouring parts of the body and strength of effort being employed in movement. It is distinguished from exteroception, by which we perceive the outside world, and interoception, by which we perceive pain, hunger, etc., and the movement of internal organs.
So this refers to the relative positioning of your limbs in space. It’s about Kinesthetic awareness, or the innate ability to know where your body parts are in 3-dimensional space.
Balance is so important to almost every sport I’m somewhat surprised you don’t hear more about golf balance training. You certainly hear about it’s importance and we know it’s important but very little about practicing balance.
To some degree I always thought you either have balance or you don’t. I mentioned this in a post I did a couple years back called, Alternative Golf Power Using Martial Arts – about my previous life as an Aikido practitioner.
In Aikido you become very sensitive to balance very fast. Aikido all about balance – that is, maintaining yours and disrupting your opponents – and you train to maintain a strong, stable center, where your power is generated from.
Somehow, however, it’s not often discussed in terms of training. So is there anything we can do to improve our balance or proprioception? and how do we know we are improving it?
From a overall observation you are either “in balance” or your not, right? Not necessarily. For example, are you “off balance” a majority of times when you swing? that could be a clue. If so, try the drill Sean Foley mentions in the video off to the right.
Of course, you’ll have to monitor it. I have heard of athletes keeping a kind of balance journal because you have to *know* when you are off balance and are there certain patterns this is happening in your golf game. Is it primarily with your driver? your irons? your putting? (yes, you CAN have balance issues in putting, too!)
To improve your golf balance there are many things you can do but one of the best is a Yoga program. Even if you incorporate a few yoga balance postures – you’ll be well on your way to developing consistent proprioception integrity (hey, I just made that up but it does sound somewhat official and, dare I say, accurate)
Some other resources you might be interested to help build and improve your proprioception are listed below:
Check out the: The Bosu Ball – Professional Balance Trainer
Gray Cook is one of the most sought after strength coaches in the world. He trains some of the top athletes in the world, including Michelle Wie, Dustin Johnson and many others. This is a cool product. I know. I have it: Athletic Body in Balance Book/DVD Package
These are great for balance and swinging a club while standing on: 16″ Fitter First® Wobble Board